Green Ribbon Schools and You: A Healthy School Includes IAQ

June 18, 2012

By Tracy Enger, U.S. EPA IAQ Tools for Schools

Tracy Enger_HeadShot

You may know that your kids have healthy food options at school, but do you know how healthy the air is that they breathe? Ensuring a healthy school environment involves more than just nutritious lunches, gym class and recycling programs. Indoor air quality (IAQ) and a proactive IAQ management program are critical to children’s health, wellbeing and productivity.

The U.S. Department of Education’s new Green Ribbon Schools initiative gives green and healthy schools the recognition that they deserve. Green Ribbon Schools is the first federal recognition program to showcase schools from across the country that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, and protect the health of their students and staff.

To be considered a Green Ribbon School, schools must be taking specific actions to ensure a green and healthy environment. We at EPA are proud that the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance is prominently featured as a recommended resource for improving the health and performance of students and staff, and can be used to meet “Pillar Two” of the Green Ribbon Schools application.

The IAQ Tools for Schools guidance is widely used throughout the country and provides school districts with the framework and tools to create and maintain an integrated IAQ management program. Implementing the low- to no-cost solutions in IAQ Tools for Schools guidance can have a measurable and profound impact on the health, productivity and attendance rate of our teachers and students.

In fact, 11 Green Ribbon Schools winners are previous IAQ Tools for Schools National Award winners as well!

To learn more on how to create a green and healthy school by proactively managing indoor air quality, I invite you to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s first Green Strides Webinar: Discover Why Good IAQ is Essential for Green and Healthy Schools on Thursday, June 21, 2012, from 1 – 2 p.m. EDT.  

During this webinar, Omaha Public Schools, NE and Montgomery County Public Schools, MD ─ both Green Ribbon Schools and IAQ Tools for Schools National Award winners ─ will discuss why IAQ is an essential component of their school environmental health management programs. These two school districts will also share specifically how IAQ Tools for Schools guidance helped them create a comprehensive and effective IAQ management plan.

With so much happening in the green and healthy schools movement, I encourage you to sign up for this free webinar and learn how IAQ Tools for Schools can help you create healthier learning environments and become a 2013 Green Ribbon Schools awardee.